A tablespoon of daily ground flax seeds for a month appears to improve fasting blood sugars, triglycerides, cholesterol, and hemoglobin A1c levels in diabetics.
Drug companies are hoping to capitalize on the fact that the consumption of certain plants appears to lower the risk of diabetes by isolating the active components for use and sale as pharmacological agents. Though not as profitable, why not just eat the plants? One plant in particular that's now been tested is flax. We've known for 20 years that having ground flax in your stomach can blunt the blood sugar spike from a meal, but it's never been tested in diabetics until now. An open-label study on the effect of flax seed powder supplementation in the management of diabetes. A tablespoon of ground flax seeds every day for a month, and, compared to the control group a significant drop in fasting blood sugars, triglycerides, and cholesterol, as well as the most important thing, a drop in A1C level and this was just after a month, though if one's sugars are already well-controlled there may be no additional benefit. No weight gain with an added quarter cup of ground flax a day for 3 months—in fact the flax group ended up with a slimmer waist than the flaxseed oil or control group. Or even up to nearly a half cup a day, though this was only for a month. How does flax help control blood sugars? It may improve insulin sensitivity in glucose intolerant people, after 12 weeks of flax there was a small but significant drop in insulin resistance, perhaps related to the drop in oxidant stress given the antioxidant qualities of flax. Now this was a non-blinded, non-randomized small study, and so if it was some drug they were testing, I'd never prescribe it based on this one study, but this isn't a drug. It's just flaxseeds. There're just good side-effects, so even if this study was a fluke or fraud, flaxseeds have other benefits. In the worse case scenario I'd still end up benefiting my patients not quite ready or able to reverse their diabetes completely with a plant-based diet.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Jonathan Hodgson.
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This video reminds me of the Prunes vs. Metamucil for Constipation one, or any of those talking about various foods that may control blood sugar (Amla Versus Diabetes), weight (Fat Burning Via Flavonoids), cholesterol (Dried Apples Versus Cholesterol), or sexual dysfunction (Watermelon as Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction). Yes, these foods may help, but why not get at the root of the problem and try to reverse the condition altogether with a healthier diet overall? That's why I called my 2012 wrap-up Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death.
The two books I feature are the original classic from 2003, Defeating Diabetes co-authored by my favorite dietician, Brenda Davis, and then in 2007 and 2012, from two of my medical mentors, Dr. Neal Barnard's Program To Reverse Diabetes Now and Dr. Joel Fuhrman's The End of Diabetes. In fact Fuhrman's book is so new it wasn't even out when I recorded this video for my volume 12 DVD!
This is my third flax video of the year. See what it can do against prostate cancer in my last two Flaxseed vs. Prostate Cancer and Was It the Flaxseed, Fat Restriction, or Both?. Next, we move on to Flaxseeds For Sensitive Skin.
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